Should I pay $22 for shore excursion to Magen's Bay (2 hours of swimming) or take a taxi? How much would a taxi be? Are there a lot of taxis at the beach? Is there a lot of traffic returning from the beach to the ship? Are beach chairs available to rent?
A taxi to Magens Bay will cost you about $5.00 per person (each way) from town .
There is a $ 3.00 charge per person to enter the beach area. Yes there are plentty of Taxis at Magens Bay. Yes there can be tons of traffic returning to the pier.If there are several large ships in port the final 90 minutes can get pretty hectic. Yes there are chairs, mats, umbrellas , snorkel equipment etc. for rent. There is food and there are "facilities". With a couple of ships in town Maegens Bay can get fairly crowded.
It will cost you at least $13 to $15. (if not a dollar or two more) to get there and back by yourself. Rember if you are on a ship's tour the ship will never leave without you.
Alternatives to Maegens Bay include Coki Beach, Saphire Beach or a trip to Trunk Bay on St John.
Relax and enjoy
You might want to check out www.vinow.com there is a listing of how many cruise ships will be in port the same day as you. If there are alot, St. Thomas gets up to 10 ships on one day, you might want to find another beach as you will not be able to move on Magen's Bay. It is the most well known beach so it fills up fast with tourists.
The website also will give you cab fares, they are all set fares no meters and other tourist information.
We just got back from a cruise that included St. Thomas. Magen's Bay is b-eautiful. Here's an idea that hasn't been mentioned.
We took a cab from the Crown Bay pier to downtown Charlotte Amalie for 3.50 per person. I believe it is $3 per person from the main pier. From there we did some shopping and general wandering around downtown, during this time we were approached by at least 10 tour operators offering island tours comparable to ones the cruise ship sells for $50+. However, the tour operators were offering their tours for as little as $15.
Our tour operator(I cant remember his name) took us all over and stopped frequently for us to take pictures. We also stopped at Mountain Top which has great views. He dropped us off at Magen's Bay and we caught a taxi back for $6.
One tour operator that approached us was a guy named Pasqual. He was really nice and his tour concluded at Magen's Bay, he waited there for his guests and then took them back to their cruise ships all for $15, he also stopped at Mountain Top.
Bottom line, going through the cruise line is a waste of $$